Man re­ceives two years in fa­tal Port De­posit crash

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­

ELKTON —A Bal­ti­more County man re­ceived a twoyear prison term on Tuesday in con­nec­tion with a Septem­ber 2015 sin­gle-ve­hi­cle crash in Port De­posit that killed his com­pan­ion and sev­ered the de­fen­dant’s legs from the knees down.

Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court Judge Brenda A. Sex­ton im­posed a max­i­mum three-year sen­tence on Lloyd Alvin Har­ris, 57, of Es­sex, for his crim­i­nally neg­li­gent ve­hic­u­lar man­slaugh­ter con­vic­tion and then sus­pended one year of it. The judge also levied a con­sec­u­tive, max­i­mum one-year sen­tence, which she sus­pended, for Har­ris’ re­lated driv­ing with a re­voked li­cense con­vic­tion.

“In­car­cer­a­tion is war­ranted,” Sex­ton com­mented from the bench, list­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of Har­ris’ con­vic­tions re­lat­ing to the fa­tal crash and the de­fen­dant’s ex­ten­sive crim­i­nal record as fac­tors in reach­ing the sen­tence.

The judge said she also con­sid­ered that Har­ris re­lies on a wheel­chair and that he has re­lated health is­sues, as a re­sult of los­ing the lower halves of his legs in the fa­tal crash. Dur­ing Tuesday’s pro­ceed­ing, Har­ris was seated at the de­fense ta­ble in a wheel­chair.

Sex­ton or­dered Har­ris to serve two years of su­per- vised pro­ba­tion af­ter com­plet­ing his two-year term in a Mary­land Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions prison.

In De­cem­ber, a Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court jury con­victed Har­ris of crim­i­nally neg­li­gent ve­hic­u­lar man­slaugh­ter and driv­ing with a re­voked li­cense, af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing ap­prox­i­mately two hours at the con­clu­sion of a two-day trial.

Dur­ing Tuesday’s hear­ing, As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Pa­tri­cia A. Fitzger­ald rec­om­mended a three-year sen­tence af­ter re­port­ing that state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines, which are based on a de­fen­dant’s crim­i­nal record and other fac­tors, in­di­cated three years of in­car­cer­a­tion for Har­ris.

Along those lines, Fitzger­ald re­ported that Har­ris has a lengthy crim­i­nal record, with his ar­rests and con­vic­tions re­lat­ing to drugs, theft, pros­ti­tu­tion and other of­fenses.

Sex­ton de­nied a re­quest from Har­ris’ as­sis­tant pub­lic de­fender, Denise Win­ston, that her client be al­lowed to serve his two-year term on home de­ten­tion. The judge also re­jected a de­fense re­quest to set a prison re­port date for Har­ris, al­low­ing him to re­main free for a brief pe­riod to put his af­fairs in or­der.

“This hear­ing (sen­tenc­ing) has been sched­uled for months; I’m not go­ing to post­pone his re­port date,” Sex­ton re­sponded from the bench.

Har­ris was taken into cus­tody in­side the court­room im­me­di­ately af­ter sen­tenc­ing.

While con­vict­ing Har­ris on two of the counts af­ter the De­cem­ber trial, the jury ac­quit­ted him of the most se­ri­ous charge, gross neg­li­gent ve­hic­u­lar homi­cide, which car­ries a max­i­mum 10-year sen­tence.

Pros­e­cu­tors main­tained at trial that Har­ris ex­ceeded the speed limit while driv­ing a sport util­ity ve­hi­cle south­bound on Route 222 about 5 a.m. Sept. 20, 2015. More­over, the state con­tended that Har­ris, as a re­sult of him driv­ing at an ex­ces­sive speed, lost con­trol of the ve­hi­cle and it crashed into a bridge abut­ment.

Killed in the crash was Har­ris’ pas­sen­ger, Kirk Den­ni­son, a 46-year-old Street man who was pro­nounced dead at the scene. Har­ris, who was air­lifted from the crash scene, suf­fered se­vere leg in­juries that re­sulted in him los­ing those limbs from the knees down and spend­ing a lengthy time in the hos­pi­tal and then many months in a nurs­ing home.

The de­fense main­tained at trial that Den­ni­son, who owned the SUV, was the driver and that Har­ris was the pas­sen­ger.

Two good Sa­mar­i­tans, how­ever, pulled Har­ris from the driver’s seat and Den­ni­son from the pas­sen­ger’s seat, ac­cord­ing to state tes­ti­mony.


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